DraftKings MLB: Thursday Picks
DraftKings MLB: Thursday Picks

This article is part of our DraftKings MLB series.

Thursday's five-game evening slate is interesting, to say the least. There is only one pitcher on the docket who can reasonably be identified as a cash play, which means owners may have to dig a bit in order to find some low-cost gems. As always, this means our cup runneth over with offensive options, making this an optimal slate to employ stacking.

Pitching Overview

Chris Paddack ($9,100) hasn't shown any growing pains in his first season in the major leagues, as evidenced by the 1.29 ERA he has kept over his first 14 innings (three starts). He will take on a Cincinnati offense that currently holds the third-lowest road wOBA in the league.

Julio Urias ($8,000) has been knocked around in his last two outings after a tremendous first start of the season. His rematch against the Brewers in Miller Park will likely be his last outing before being sent back to the bullpen. The promising youngster has been bitten by the home run ball so far this season (1.3 HR/9 in 13.2 innings), which doesn't exactly bode well for a matchup against a powerful lineup in a hitter-friendly park. Urias may still be popular due to the lack of options on a short slate, but prospective owners should probably expect some sort of leash as he prepares for a relief role.

Tanner Roark ($7,200) may be worth a look due to the fact that the Padres carry a bottom-10 wOBA against right-handed pitchers. The problem is that Roark doesn't really do anything that one can point to as part of an endorsement. Even the uptick in his strikeout rate to begin the season is nothing to get excited about, as his swinging strike rate has actually gone down in the process.

Ryan Yarbrough ($7,400) is expected to pitch against the Orioles following opener Hunter Wood, And DraftKings has priced him accordingly. Yarbrough didn't do much besides limit homers in his rookie season but he will face one of the worst offenses in the league in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, which means he needs to be part of your player pool at this price.

Zach Davies' ($7,000) 1.53 ERA is incredibly misleading, as he features below average walk and strikeout rates, and carries a 4.60 xFIP in his 17.2 innings (three starts.) While he may achieve popularity based on past success, it's hard to make any real case for him against the Dodgers in Miller Park.

It's not often that I recommend pitchers at Coors Field but Zach Eflin ($6,800) may warrant a look thanks to his high strikeout rate and the fact that he has walked just one batter in 16 innings. It must be pointed out that Eflin's intermittent homer problems seem to be popping up again to begin 2019 but the Rockies don't quite have the punch they've had in recent years at the moment, as they are a middle-of-the-road offense at home according to metrics like wOBA and ISO.

Key Values

Cody Bellinger ($5,500) isn't even the highest priced player on the slate but he has been performing like the best player on the planet, tallying a stunning .551 ISO along with a .642 wOBA in 47 at-bats against right-handed pitching. This should draw the attention of the DFS community, as Davies' 7.38 xFIP against left-handed hitting suggests that regression should be fast approaching.

Andrew McCutchen's ($5,400) success against left-handed pitchers this year is based off just 10 at-bats but it's clear that he enjoys facing his opposite hand based on the solid .192 ISO and .355 wOBA he tallied in 193 at-bats last year. Meanwhile, Kyle Freeland has logged a 4.96 xFIP against right-handed hitters to open the season, after finishing last year with a 4.42 xFIP in 157.2 innings.

Austin Meadows ($5,000) makes it on my value list for the second day in a row against Andrew Cashner, who has logged a 5.30 ERA in 173.1 innings dating back to last season.

Domingo Santana ($4,900) looks like an excellent play against Chris Stratton based on the .411 wOBA he has tallied against right-handed pitching in 76 at-bats. Stratton finished 2018 with an ERA north of 5.00 and has walked more batters than he has struck out this year en route to a 5.54 ERA in 13 innings.

Lorenzo Cain ($4,700) is showing some good early power against lefties and should be counted on to produce against his opposite hand fairly regularly based on the .422 wOBA he logged in 142 at-bats in 2018.

If you are looking for a Rockies hitter that won't strain your salary cap, it may be wise to give Raimel Tapia ($4,200) a look. Tapia is one of many Colorado hitters that have started the season off slowly but he showed solid, consistent power throughout his career in the minors.

Kole Calhoun ($3,600) has struggled overall this season but sports a decent .170 ISO against right-handed pitchers to go along with an eye-popping 57 percent hard contact rate in 47 at-bats. This should give him the opportunity to succeed against Felix Hernandez, who hasn't finished a season with a HR/9 rate below 1.5 since 2016.

Stacks

Rays against Andrew Cashner: Andrew Meadows, Mike Zunino ($3,300) Brandon Lowe ($4,400)

Don't look now but Zunino is on a bit of a run after an abysmal start to the season, having tallied at least seven DK points in five straight games. It's looking as though the Rays might have something with Brandon Lowe, as he has tallied a .362 ISO against right-handed pitching in 47 at-bats.

Dodgers against Zach Davies: Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager ($4,500) Max Muncy ($4,800)

Davies will be well and truly tested by power up and down the Dodger lineup. Muncy has had a strange start to his 2019 campaign, compiling most of his offensive numbers against lefty pitching, but finished 2018 with a .334 ISO against righties.

Mariners against Chris Stratton: Domingo Santana, Daniel Vogelbach ($4,700) Jay Bruce ($4,500)

It's hard to go wrong with most regulars in this stack, as the Mariners have been one of the best offensive teams in the league through the first two and a half weeks of the season. This is made even jucier by the fact that Stratton hasn't shown any signs of effectiveness at this level since 2017.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Christopher Olson plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: Sommerset, FanDuel: Christop, Yahoo: Martins.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christopher Olson
Christopher Olson writes DFS articles and blogs for a variety of sports including MLB, NFL and MMA. Follow him on Twitter @RealChrisOlson
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